Sunday, December 30, 2007

Titleness Eludes Me

I've been sifting through old photo albums. Pictures from my childhood. You know how biographies of famous people contain at least one picture that is a sign of things to come? An astronaut's album has a picture of him (or her) as a kid, wearing a spacesuit. Or a fuzzy picture of a business tycoon manning a lemonade stand at the age of five etc.

Well, I managed to find two photographs of me at the age of three. In both those pictures, I am comfortably and contentedly perched on a sofa. All right!

Taare Zameen Par: a two hour-long PSA? But that doesn't quite explain why so many people seem to be going in for repeat viewings.

I am simply dreading The Party tomorrow. Indian DJs seem to have (suddenly?) discovered electronica. (Correction: they have discovered boring electronica. Most other DJs here still seem to be spinning The Eagles and Def Leppard.) And when those break-beats begin, they like to turn up the volume beyond 10. How am I going to proclaim my undying friendship to drunk strangers and hatch business plans now?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Chiku Chronicles Continue...

Remember Act 1, in which the hero spoke about how his vacation involved lots of food and odd news stories? Well, that Act ended rather poorly with the protagonist coming down with stomach ache, fever and chills. However, and this is the dramatic conflict of the story, so pay attention, people around him grossly misdiagnosed the situation with a "illi neeru indu abhyaasa illa" (he's not used to the water here.) The hero was ashamed. He was once again branded an outsider. Then he grew worried. What if he died of bloating and flatulence? Sure, life stinks, but death by gaseousness stinks worse.

Now, Act 2 should have been a short, humorous sequence involving a funny-looking physician, some bizarre side-effects produced by bad medicine etc followed by an emotional Act 3 in which the hero's mother comes to the rescue of her son, thanks to her decades' long experience with her "boy's" stomach's workings. "WE ARE LOSING HIM! Give me a scalpel, some pudin hara and a gulab jamun."

Alas. Act 2, the bane of all screenplays, turned out exactly like Act 2 in all bad films. Nothing happened. OK, the hero was put on a starvation diet for a day, but what's the comic potential in that? And what about Act 3? It involved the mother dragging her son to a Hungarian film. Mind you, no hugs and kisses, no "mera raja beta, thoda aur kha", but "it's an Istvan Szabo film...I don't want to miss it".


To the chiku-seller who sold me TWO kilos of hard, unripe, sour chikus: Dude, WTF?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


After five onion parathas, two boiled eggs and two cups of tea, the soul seeks a little stimulation. So I turned to the morning papers.

India's first school shooting. A chai-walla strangles and burns a jeweler, because he (i.e., the chai-walla) could not pay back a loan (lent by the jeweler at 85% p.a.) High school kids hanging themselves over poor grades.

I love the papers' format for reporting crime stories. They recount the series of unfortunate events thrice - once in the main story, second time as a bulleted list and the third time in the form of a comic strip. But I think they are alienating a huge section of their readership that likes its news stories communicated through haiku, interpretive dance, pottery and mime.

??! has chosen me as the expert in the "classic rock/jazz/new age" music category for a fantasy blogger team. Yes, new age music. Will I also be fielding questions on World Music and Smooth Jazz? Because god knows there's nothing I like better than those genres of music. I demand an apology NOW.

Time for another cup of tea or three chikus or the obituary section.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Three Cities

There's the Bombay one imagines. There's the Bombay one remembers. Finally, there's the Bombay that is. The triptych was on display all day yesterday.

Two old buddies and I ambled through the city. Cafe Samovar's chicken vindaloo rolls were good and the service was above par. The portrait painters operating outside Jehangir Art Gallery were superbly awful and tacky. The two or three remaining street-side booksellers still sold pirated versions of Norman Vincent Peale books. While I was sad to see my favorite vinyl record stands had disappeared from Fort, one brave Luddite still operated, enticing his all-important dread-locked, tank-topped demographic. He had a well-preserved Kraftwerk album to sell. Major salivatory occurrences on the way home. Oh, to be doing the robot while eating Usal Pav...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Home's Where It's At

If jet-lag didn't exist, man would have to invent it. I may be up since 3AM, but later this morning, the entire household - including the Bihari "temp" - will be showering me with sympathy, hot coffee and breakfast in bed. All this will change when my sleep cycle is restored, of course. The sympathy will be replaced with harsh, cold orders to visit so-and-so for lunch. The hot coffee will turn lukewarm (and sweet - ugh) and I will be asked to eat at the table. Maybe even the Bihari temp will stop laughing at my jokes delivered in "bhaiyyaese".

The day I can sleep at night, I am just like everyone else. *Sob*.

Someone tell me if I am wrong: there is a *desperate* need for a good newspaper in this country. You know, something for us grown-ups. Serious news, serious analysis. That means no fucking Garfield, no horoscopes, no dieting tips written by film stars but most of all, a newspaper that runs STORIES WITH CORRECT ENGLISH OR AT LEAST CORRECT PUNCTUATION, FOR GOD'S SAKE.

To save tigers, we must kill them. They mistook this tiger for a man-eater and shot him to death. Sweet. And you thought wildlife conservation was difficult?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gotta Run

Hee haw.

More travel. India. Anxious, not excited. No idea why. Oh I know why. I spent the entire evening in a guitar shop instead of doing my laundry and packing.

Chinese man walks into guitar store with a little girl of six or seven. He asks the muumuu-wearing woman behind the counter if she is feeling better. "Bitter?" asks the Muumuu. "No, bEtt-ah", says the man. "I am never bitter", she insists. "No, no, I said bett-ah, not bitt-ah". Sensing her dad's frustration, the little girl jumps in. With just a hint of Chinese accent in her voice, she clarified: "my daddy's accent....he is not from America".

OK, just for the record, I DO NOT care if you scored a plasma TV at 30% or even 90% off this past Friday. A little perspective, people. It's just a TV. You still have thirteen channels of shit to choose from, except that your new shit is...a lot more vivid and lifelike.

Just caught Jeff Beck playing the Crossroads Guitar Festival (on PBS). Had to google for his ridiculously talented (and young) bassist, Tal Wilkenfeld. A girl playing bass? What's this world coming to? Next they will tell me women can vote.

Here's a video of Jeff Beck playing "A Day in the Life" at this same festival. If you don't want to watch the full clip, at least listen in at 1:38 and 4:12, when Beck recreates the most memorable part of the song on his guitar.

All right. After a while, crocodiles.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes There Are Two Paths You Can Go By

I've decided. From here on, decisions must not arrive in pairs. Like high-ranking officers of corporations, they must not fly together. Continuity and succession, for God's sake. What if your dreams and fears died on the same day? The only thing more frustrating than having to choose is not getting to choose at all.

Decision A, the one that promises the pot of gold AND mind-numbing work must not be seen in the company of Decision B, the all-too familiar picture of penury and hardship and "happiness". All I am asking for is that these two be split up for good.

(I also suspect this: while A and B appear to be enemies in public, I think they get it on - and in the dirtiest possible way one can imagine - the moment we turn our backs to them. Bastards.)

I need a new model for decision-making; one that gives me more than two choices and because I love nothing better than a good laugh, make all decision-points totally incongruous with one another. "Here are your choices, Mr. Paganini. If you sell me your soul, you will play the violin like no one else OR if you eat your broccoli every day, I will give you 20% off on the new reclining sofa."

And why are our decisions based on simple, linear extrapolations of our worst fears (or favorite fantasies - *looking wistfully at my stock portfolio and my vast non-collection of '58 Gibsons and '67 Fenders*)?

Friday, November 23, 2007

"When Black Friday Comes...

....I am gonna dig myself a hole, gonna lay down in it till I satisfy my soul"

Oh, I've been bad. Not even a "no updates for a week or two because of my travel schedules". To make things more interesting, I seem to have developed some allergy which makes my eyes water so profusely you would mistake them for the freaking Niagara Falls. You are all welcome to set up a souvenir shop right by my face. I've tried being on and off alcohol for the past 2 weeks - the trusted elimination method - and I know for sure that this allergy is not triggered by beer, sake, tequila shots, rum, vodka and Scotch. I even tried the good ol' herbal treatment one night and nope, there was no stopping the downpour.

But the real downside to this optical micturition is that I could be watching the crappiest generic action flick on TBS with tears in my eyes. "So sensitive, he cried when Steven Seagal shot the bad guys".

"The last time I saw you, you were only this big" is a line we have all heard before. This monster of a Great Dane next door was only this big when I saw him about 6 months ago. He is now a sombre, majestic hulk and likes nothing better than walking around the neighborhood making enormous poo-poo. God clearly has a great sense of humor.

A squirrel in the backyard is busy practicing tightrope-walking on an electric cable. He (or she*?) runs halfway across the cable, stops, looks down and then scurries to the other end. This is repeated at least six times a day. It would be a television-worthy performance if I could somehow sync up this stunt with the intro to Jethro Tull's "The Mouse Police Never Sleeps".

Can some biologist please explain this puzzling "wallendization" of the American Squirrel?

*A female squirrels with suicidal tendencies? Naaah. This one has to be a male.

Courtesy space bar (via the world's greatest radio station, WFMU), Meet the Compressed Beatles. CAUTION: It's an 84.4 MB file.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Present, Sir!

Phew. I survived not one, not two, but three consecutive 70-hour weeks and intense travel. And when I emerged from Project Hell, what do I see?

....Robert Plant and Allison Krauss have a new album out. Forget the over-priced, broken-fingered Led Zeppelin reunion. (Though I really can't.) "Raising Sand" is a truly great album. What I don't get is why many critics are calling the pairing of Krauss and Plant "improbable". What's so improbable about mashing rock and bluegrass and country? It's called "rock and roll". Look it up sometime. You can (and should) listen to the album on Napster. T-Bone Burnett is God.

....The new Coen Bros' movie opens soon. I am just happy. bar wrote her JK post just like she said she would. That made my day. Thank you.

...The Urf people were patient with my excuses at first, then not so much. Psst...Falstaff: what's your going rate for ghost-blogging these days?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dear Agony Aunt

Co-worker calls me "sunshine" and "babe". It's beginning to bother me.

P.S.: Did I mention the said co-worker is male?

Monday, October 22, 2007

If You Can Say Something Nice, Just Shut The Hell Up

I could tell the old lady seated next to me on the flight was excited about the cruise that she had just been on.

"The boat was really big!"

I should have held my book (Anatole France's "Penguin Island" - a book everyone should read) in front of my face and blocked eye-contact with her. But when I felt her poke my arm to tell me about the amazing ice-skating show on the cruise, I calmly accepted my fate.

"The skaters had such pretty costumes!"

Images of bloodied ice-picks, fatal avalanches and devastating snowstorms filled my head.

"How was the food on the boat?"

"It was wonderful", she said. "So many different types of cuisines!"

All FOCs ("fresh off the cruise") seem to always talk about the food on the ship. "It's just like being in a city!" (OK, so why go on a cruise? Just go to a city. I know - it must be the ice-skating show.)

Then the lady changed topics and asked me where I was originally from. I gave her the coordinates and braced myself for questions on outsourcing and call centers. Thankfully, she did not touch upon those topics. Instead, she told me something else.

"Oooh, India! Boy, that's a long way from here! We had waiters and waitresses from 54 nations but the Indians were the best! They spoke good English, they were efficient and got our food on time."

What can I say, that's my people.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Urf For President

I have it from inside sources* that "Urf" is going to be filled with time-wasty goodness very soon.

I totally dig that name "Urf". Tremendous merchandising possibilities, don't you think? "Urf" barf-bags on planes. "Urf" bird-cage liners. "Urf" anti-flatulence medicine. "Urf" skin rash cream.

*Not the same inside sources who, back in May 2000, strongly advised me to double my position in my dot-com portfolio.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Er...Hail To The Chief?


That sound we are hearing right now is the sound of a million, even gazillion, liberals scratching their heads at this piece of news. Suddenly, they no longer feel so sure about their likes and dislikes.

Past Indian governments have always been sympathetic to the Tibetan cause. So why do they not show some support for the pro-democracy movement in Burma?

And finally:

"Dear China,

Please go fuck yourself.

Yours lovingly".

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To My Fellow Indians Who Are About To Fall

The headline tempts us thus: "Come Enjoy Indian Fall Festivals in New York And New Jersey".

And if you remember your primary school civics textbook, the ninth day of the Indian Fall Festival is the Indian Rise Festival, which is when all the fallen Indians rise and walk back home.

I've made it clear to the wife. If she wants me to dance at Navratri, they better play Fujiya & Miyagi. (link has "Collarbone" and other F&M mp3s. You are welcome.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"You Are Black And I Am White"

Of the many musical atrocities committed by bands in the nineteen-eighties, there is none more abominable than "Ebony and Ivory". Just about everything about the song is wrong. The poorly executed metaphor, the depressingly bad lyrics*, the bouncy outro - oh lord, that bouncy outro.

So gadies and lentlemen, a big round of applause for the "world's worst duet ever".

Rather than link to the original video, here's Eddie Murphy (playing Stevie Wonder) and Joe Piscopo (playing Sinatra) on SNL, re-writing the song.

Mom, Dad, I am sorry for making you spend 30 rupees (or was it 10?) and buying me the "Tug of War" cassette. I played it only 3 times and the last time I played it, someone had taped The John Peel Show over it. So the album was good for something.

*I had a mondegreen moment when I first heard the song and I still refuse to correct it. I used to hear the line "we all know that people are the same where ever you go" as "we all know bad people are the same where ever you go", I thought it lent the song another layer of equanimity. You know, Osama, Hitler, SUV drivers - bad people are the same where ever you go. Banality of evil etc.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


A very moving post by Dilip D'Souza on a subject that, ironically, is almost always shrouded in denial the world over.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


"Blade Runner" is back and finally, Ridley Scott likes it.

Oh yeah, 2019 is just 12 years away.

Would "Blade Runner" be dubbed and released in India? Would they re-title it "Nai"? Ha, ha, the hefeweizen is kicking in.


I’ve reached a point where I no longer feel the urge to defend the Mahatma when people blame him for everything; from dividing the nation to establishing a weak, subservient Hindu character that is forever bowing to Muslims.

I also do not feel the need to lionize him for this iron will or his “organization” skills (and by god, he had some.)

I especially have no interest in his brand of spirituality. I am not saying it is wrong; it’s just not my way.

But never will I stop admiring the man for his tremendous passion.

(The Atlantic has reprinted an article on Gandhi from 1922.)


If I have some free time this weekend, I will ask a friend to let me go through her personal collection of pictures of Bapu (given to her by her grandparents.) The pictures may be small (or, sadly, in some cases, fading and torn), Gandhiji seems lost in a sea of freedom fighters, but damn those are thrilling pictures. (There are also letters and postcards signed by the great man; some sent from Sabarmati, some from Bombay. Each one is a glowing testimonial to that passion.)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Awesome Hancock Quote For The Day

(heard on a radio interview a couple of weeks ago; generously paraphrased, naturally):

You play to please yourself. Even if the audience takes fifteen or twenty years to understand your music, so be it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Is My Brain On Brownie

Is there anything more entertaining than my capacity for self-delusion? Pay attention to Exhibit A, namely my dinner from about 5 nights ago.

It consisted of yogurt (whole milk, honey-flavored), cut fruit (kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, melon) and two very large brownies (chocolate sauce on the side, nuts for topping) that had been sitting in the fridge for 2 nights. Brownies should never smell funky, but still.

I slept at around midnight ("Entourage" marathon) and woke up at 3AM (all physical, emotional and existential crises occur at 3AM; odd then that the Beatles picked 5AM as the time for their heroine's escape) with a severe ache in the stomach. And my first reaction? "God, if you make this ache go away, I swear I'll never touch yogurt and fruit again".

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's Hrithik Roshan

Somebody just changed his chuddies.
"The letter 'M' to me signifies macho, mischievous and definitely male. The 'MacroMan M Series' is a brand which is all of them and certainly gives a good boost to my male ego when I wear it," added Hrithik.
I don't know about Mr. Roshan's household, but over at my place, underwear strictly signifies weekend chores and looking for the cheapest and the biggest container of detergent at Costco.

And what is this "good boost to my male ego when I wear it" business? If Hrithik's "male ego" gets a "boost" only after he covers his, um, stuff, he must have a - wait for it - a small problem.

"MacroMan M"? Seriously, "MacroMan M"? Can you come up with an even more obvious name for a line of underwear? (Not that I think "Lamba-Chauda" would stand a chance in India's metros....) Your responses in the commentspace, please.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Oh to be stuck with newbie geeks.

I was with a bunch of them in a project "war-room" and learned some shocking facts like:

"Halo", a game that's been around since at least 1997, was described as an "old classic game".

Not one of them had ever used a command prompt.

When an informal vote was taken to decide the music selection for the war-room, "dance music" won. DANCE MUSIC! When did geeks ever want to dance?

It is perfectly ok to post your "old geezer" comments now.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

"Pagal Kuttas" Surrender, US Wins

My Zenness has nothing to do with my absence, Scout.

Meanwhile, America is free of the canine rabies virus.

When I was a kid, the prospect of getting the rabies virus injection scared me more than the thought of being chewed up by a mutt.

"Fourteen injections in the stomach", we were told by our parents. After this would come a graphic description of the syringe, followed by a stern reminder that one would most definitely grow fur, tail and claws after fourteen injections. Or that one would lift his leg at every lamp-post and chase every car and scooter in town.

I don't know about you but the latter idea doesn't sound too bad to me.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Twenty Years

There's a Zen story about an eager student who asked his teacher how long it would take for him to reach enlightenment if he meditated every day. The teacher answered, "ten years". A bit disappointed by this answer, the student asked how long it would take if he doubled his efforts. "Twenty years" the teacher replied.

I remembered this story when I got out of my bright-orange kayak. (Yes, I have a Zen parable for every occasion.)

An hour earlier I had sat down in the kayak. I was, as always, anxious to overpower the kayak and the nearly-still stream. I paddled really hard but found myself going round and around and generously splashing water on myself and my fellow kayakers. (It's a good thing most of us don't row to work. Imagine the water rage.) Blaming my utter lack of control on my obviously-defective paddle, I switched grips to find the most optimal position so I could conserve energy and glide elegantly. Instead, I did more circles and crashed into the thorny bushes every two minutes.

Twenty minutes later, I got tired of trying. Lack of fitness can be such a good thing. I put down my paddle, sat back and watched dragonflies dancing merrily on the sparkling surface of the water.

Birds chirped (one of them shrieked), the unruly grass growing on the bank swayed, kayakers paddled and without interference from the paddle, I floated downstream, absolutely straight, just like I had wanted to.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Entire Tapestry

I cannot put it any more plainly: you haven't lived till you have read Richard Feynman's "The Character of Physical Law".

There are ideas in the book -everything from Law of Gravitation to Symmetry in Physical Law to the relation of Mathematics to Physics in 170 pages - that are so beautifully explained, I wanted to stand up on my plane seat and read those words aloud to my co-passengers. (Then I saw how engrossed they were, watching Shrek or reading Harry Potter and decided against acting out my impulse.)

Take this one particularly soul-stirring passage from a chapter on Entropy and Disorder, titled "The Distinction Between Past And Future":

Which end is nearer to God; if I may use a religious metaphor. Beauty and hope, or the fundamental laws? I think that the right way, of course, is to say that what we have to look at is the whole structural interconnection of the thing; and that is all the sciences, and not just the sciences but all the efforts of intellectual kinds, are an endeavour to see the connections of the hierarchies, to connect beauty to history, to connect history to man's psychology, man's psychology to the working of the brain, the brain to the neural impulse, the neural impulse to the chemistry, and so forth, up and down, both ways. And today we cannot, and it is no use making believe that we can, draw carefully a line all the way from one end of this thing to the other......And I do not think either end is nearer to God. To stand at either end, and to walk off that end of the pier only, hoping that out in that direction is the complete understanding, is a mistake. And to stand with evil and beauty and hope, or to stand with the fundamental laws, hoping that way to get a deep understanding of the whole world, with that aspect alone, is a mistake.
Sadly, these brilliant lectures which were once available on Google and YouTube have now have been removed. If any of you know any other video sites where I can find them, please post links in the commentspace. For that that don't have access to a good public library or a bookstore, just google for the book title and you will find excerpts on Google Books.

Friday, August 24, 2007

25, Single, Enjoys Nature Walks And Flinging Poop

Everything about the story can be deduced from this one paragraph:
"The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us," said Mrs Njeri.
Damned dirty ape refuses to keep stinking paws to himself! (link to BBC)

UPDATE: More wild animals gone, er, wild

I know none of you are refreshing your browsers for updates to this rather important breaking news story, but reader "nat" posted a link in the commentspace to a similar incident involving a camel. Think I now know why they are called one-humped camels.

Question for you all: would these incidents be described as "bestiality" or "humaniality"? Think about it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Duality And Contradiction

A Personal Injury Lawyer's office,
right next to the Zen meditation center.
My head assplodes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In Which Annie Gives Me Those Ones

I enter the plane and who do I see in front of me? Annie Leibovitz, sitting all by herself, reading the New York Times. Double, triple and quadruple takes (by me, not her.) Yup, that's Annie Leibovitz. No mistaking those glasses. I am hyperventilating. How could I not be? She took all those great photos (like this, this and this.) Oh, and she also shot that very famous picture on the morning of December 8, 1980.

Should I have said hello? Pulled out my cheap plastic pen and asked her for an autograph? Handed over my cellphone (the one with the 0.0002 nanopixel camera) to her and asked her for a portrait?

Sadly, I couldn't bring myself to doing any of those things. I chickened out and ate my overcooked chicken sandwich in regretful silence. But now I have decided that this non-encounter will be my Beatle story and it will always start this way: "I once flew with the photographer who took one of John's best pictures..." (mildly NSFW)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bakin' Love

Did you know there are certain words and phrases that can "make men fall deeper in love" and that stud muffin is one of them?

If "stud muffin" will push a man over the cliff, heels under his head, into the raging sea of love, will calling him "watery oatmeal" keep him from committing to a relationship?

What about women? How do we make them fall deeper in love? "Slutty croissant" or "libidinous pastry"? What about "my kinky knish", "chaste pretzel" or "hot cross bun"?

Is there a "salacious piroshky" in your life?

Do the words "vampish vada" or "amorous samosa" mean anything to you?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Three Most Beautiful Words In The English Language

"Karaoke Bar Meltdown" (Link to Smoking Gun, via Drudge)

She deserves to be honored, not arrested.

Bon Voyage, And Here's Your Handbasket

The city police have registered a case against controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin, who was recently attacked by workers of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) here, for allegedly creating ill-feeling among communities.
Say what?

Friday, August 10, 2007


Not to go all spoiler on you, but do yourself a favor and watch "The Bourne Ultimatum" for these two reasons: a car chase sequence and a hand-to-hand fight sequence. (There's a third reason too: a chance to revisit some of the environs of the 1937 French classic, "Pepe Le Moko". Now that is a GREAT genre film.) The rest of "The Bourne Ultimatum" is very enjoyable, and yes, it is a 100% genre workout (but don't let that scare you.)

My only complaint about the film is its screenplay's reliance on awkward exposition. You know how that works in spy movies, right? For half the movie, you will hear every character make references to a secret operation ("Operation MumboJumbo") without providing any more details. Then at some point in the film, one of the characters will start describing Operation MumboJumbo's goals for no reason other than to bring the audience up to speed. I know, I know, every genre has its beats and a good film has to hit those beats.

Censorship, It's A Beautiful Thing

A webcast of Pearl Jam's performance gets "edited" by AT&T and apparently, it was an "error".

Author Taslima Nasrin's appearance in Hyderabad was rudely interrupted by another organization. No word on whether their special appearance was also an error.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Does This Even Need A Title?

In a comment on a most enjoyable post, I alluded to a contraceptive commercial that made headlines in India in the early '90s. (That would be the Nineteen Nineties, thank you.) Naturally, I had to google for that brand right away. Oh, the places our memories take us.

The manufacturer of the contraceptive has a website. And in there is more goodness per cubic inch than there would be in a tubful of Horlicks.

As an example, the site has a message-board titled "TIT TO TOE" with a forum called "Nailed and Polished". I am sure those names tell you what's to, uh, come. Well, you would be wrong. Here's some of what you will actually find on that forum: (the forum is harmless, but the site is not safe for work.)

A girl with bad skin and a veggie fetish. You too would hurl all over your keyboard if I told you I had almond chicken for lunch today.

Then there's the patchy-haired dude, who claims to have no growth of hair "at" his "chick". Maybe should try shaving his other chick?

Madam, you shouldn't be posting on a message-board. You should be making friends with monkeys. (I know, real mature, and also, monkeys don't eat lice.)

And finally, the double-headed monster that will absolutely, completely, totally, positively reduce you to a helpless, quivering, teary-eyed mass of WTF.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's Alright Ma (I Got Them Discombobulation Blues)

I hear a man's voice inside the elevator. Just one word: "Hello". It's buried under static and "whoosh", like a guitar phaser set to 10.

I jump up - literally - look around the elevator and see no one. Then, just to be sure I didn't miss any of the corners, I look again. There's no one in the elevator (but me, of course.) I am definitely hearing a voice in this elevator with an est. pop. of 1.

My long-harbored fears are coming true. Voices in my head, padded cells, men in white taking me away, days and nights spent polishing those crazy diamonds, my wife standing outside my isolated room...

Seeing my floor is still a few seconds away, I decide to confront the Voice.

I summon a "Hello?". Even to my own ears, I sound half-ashamed and half-frightened.

"Yeah?", says the elevator. It (or he) sounds irritated. The elevator doesn't seem too crazy about small talk.

"Hello?", I say again. More crackle, hiss and pop. The elevator's response is barely audible or comprehensible, which is how it should be. The elevator stops at the requested floor and I walk out.

I look back, half-expecting to see something terrible in the elevator, like the ghost of a decapitated office worker, appearing from nowhere. Then I tell myself, "office elevators transport brainless people, but never headless ones. NEVER!".

Having ruled out the possibility of a Haunted Elevator, I conclude this was simply a Cosmic Joke, a Divine Punk'd or maybe some kind of a Message. But if God wanted to send me a Message, why did He choose an elevator? And if an elevator could deliver a Message, what would it be?

Till I find some answers, I am taking the stairs.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Elton Comes Out

Out of the Idiot Closet, that is.

I especially liked this particular comment from the linked article: "Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging."

What can I say, when I think of great activists and all those brave people who fought for important issues, the very first name that comes to my mind is Elton John.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where The Fsck did Street 13 Go?

They renamed it Frank-Zappa-Strasse after - surprise! - Frank Zappa. (Wouldn't it be fun if they named it "Frank-Zappa-Strasse" after someone else?)
The street is home to Orwo Haus, a former Communist-era film factory that now provides practice studios for more than 160 bands.

But Missus Zappa is not happy about this announcement and has threatened to sue the Frank Zappa Fan Club in Berlin that is behind the re-naming of this street.

The Zappa Fan Club ("Arf-Society") in Berlin lashed back at her with this comment:
"Mrs Zappa, we protest explicitly against the unwarrented claims you raised. As Frank would have asked, are you 'only in it for the money?'"

Oooh! An inside joke-putdown! I want to try my hand at it too.

Ok, here's one: that threat made by Zappa's wife is like a ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch.

Yeah! Take that!!

Rhyme, Reason, Negative

A sudden hankering for the following things:

An Eric Rohmer film. Any Rohmer film will do, but I *really* feel like seeing "Claire's Knee" again.

A steam engine. I just want to hear one running.

A loud, off-key trumpet solo soaring high above a fat brassy chord.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How Do I Love Thee

Way # 10875: Opening that bottle of Hefeweizen with a switchblade.

Way # 10876: Remembering to pack a switchblade along with shampoo, conditioner and perfumes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Joy Of 70-Hour Work Week

No, there is no joy in working 70-hour weeks.

And why are large software projects still managed through spreadsheets and email?

Apropos of nothing, I heard just one song from Spoon's new album "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" and it rocked. Pitchfork loves it too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Astad, Ustad

Many, many years ago in the middle of a concert in Rang Bhavan, I realized the music being performed on stage demanded a smoke. Not because it was that good, but because it was that bad. Only one problem. None of us had any smokes left. There were many smokers around me but I couldn't just ask anyone for a toke.

Everyone knows the risk involved in asking the wrong kind of smoker. Some are stingy. "Just two puffs, ok?" Some make you wait. "Let me get to the filter". Others want to share the "one love, man, one love, woohoo Lord Shiva, Jah, man" vibe. Even back then I detested stoner talk. Unless it was coming out of my mouth, of course. So I turned to the guy next to me. He was a middle-aged man, smoking a big fat one and I prayed he wouldn't ration, make me wait forever or quote from Bob Marley.

"Can I have a toke?", I asked him. "Sure", he said and handed me the smoke. I pulled hard once, twice, thrice and it dawned on me. I had just bummed a smoke from Astad Deboo. So proud I was at my Celebrity Recognition skills, I had to share it with the Celebrity in question. "You are Astad Deboo!". And just in case he had forgotten important details of his career, I even yelled out "you once danced with Pink Floyd on stage!!" "Yeah, uh-huh" he said and took the smoke back from me.

"Pink Floyd!!", I shouted out again and felt my head grow woozy and my mouth get dry. My knees, they were both gone.

Rediff has a pictorial on the man.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

K.K. Mahajan

K.K. Mahajan, "master of light and sentinel of darkness", RIP.

Just look at his filmography: from "New Cinema" films to mainstream films like "Choti Si Baat" to TV serials like "Buniyaad"!

Via Indian Writing. (See this post too)

Jabberwock has some great pictures as well.

On a related note, check out this site about Mrinal Sen, maintained by his son.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How One Man Is Solving The International Food Crisis

" I told my manager verrrry openly - boss, you throw monkeys, you will get peanuts".

I should have asked him the secret to getting good honey-roasted peanuts. ("first we find a big jar of honey and a gullible monkey....")

In other food-related news, I grossly violated the 5-second rule this morning. A blueberry muffin was positioned, with great care, on the arm-rest/random crap-holder between the driver's seat and the passenger's seat in the car. Did I tell you I can easily switch between breakfast, NPR, indie-rock, conference call and pranayama?

When I reached work, the mobile breakfast item was gone. I searched the entire car. It took me a good 5 minutes to find the muffin. Yes, three hundred seconds.

Breakfast never tasted so good. Of course I blew on it and even dusted it lightly with one finger. That got rid of most of the hairball.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Vampire Weekend

Does your favorite new rock band talk like this?
....the idea of grammar as this obviously construct that a categorical imperative because it's so specific to the English language. It's kind of linguistic imperialism.
This is "Vampire Weekend". Fantastic band.

Even though the band's name sounds somewhat metalish (and makes you think they play Gibson Flying Vs), their sound is actually closer to ska and Afropop. Nearly every review of this band's EP (including a recent one in NYT) compares the sound to Paul Simon's Graceland.

What sealed the deal for me was that absolute ear-worm of a song, "Oxford Comma". It starts with the most compelling rhetorical question I've heard in years: "who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma". (In case you've forgotten what an Oxford comma is.)

The band's website has streaming versions of "Oxford Comma" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa".

Give "Vampire Weekend" a spin. You'll love it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Yippie-Ki-Yay, And How's Life Treating You

The good news is Ph's back. The bad news is BM's said goodnight again. What the hell, Gracie? Where am I going to see outlines of a foot on a blog?

The good news is this battle is over. Or maybe not. I had fun stirring up that pot. There is no bad news

"Live Free or Die Hard" is a cinematic tour de force, a finely tuned mixture of human drama and technology. Let's face it. They don't make films like these anymore. (I was going to say "movies", but that's such a cheap word, you know?) The film works at so many levels, but it is particularly effective at the upper, middle and lower levels. Be it the emotionally charged study of the father-daughter relationship, the chilling depiction of the tragic consequences of bad computer network administration policies or the startlingly fresh portrayal of the odd-couple-caught-in-a-violent-situation scenario, this Die Hard sequel is a treat for everyone.

Still more surprising was the sheer amount of business education packed into this two-and-a-half hour film. The Bad Guy, played by Timothy Oliphant, lacks general management skills. He throws money at problems. He does not invest in good HR practices. His team structure is flat, which is good, but then he shoots all his programmers at the end of the project. I know, we've all felt like doing that at the end of some projects, but "we just kill you afterwards" is not a good recruiting slogan. Promoting your hot girlfriend to the top of the organization is good old nepotism. (He should have waited till they were married, announced a bad quarter or two, lowered the stock prices, bought back a ton of stock in her name and then hired her into the Board of Directors. That would have been so much more realistic too.) The Bad Guy team should also have outsourced their non-core operations to a good Indian offshore shop. Their (i.e. the Bad Guys') business is to blow up things and take the money and run. Why did they have to own under-performing assets like data centers, computers, networks (and all those dead programmers?)

I could go on and on but I really want you to watch this little gem and draw your own conclusions. Isn't that the whole point of Art and all that crap?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Humble Contribution To The Sardarji Jokes' Canon

Q. Why did the Sardarji have his own picture as the wallpaper on his cellphone?

A. So he wouldn't have to carry a mirror.

This kind old Praji, seated next to me on the flight, asked me what time we would land. I said "barah baje". I realized the unintended faux pas there and quickly corrected it to "sava-barah baje". Really clever of me. That's when he powered up his cellphone and I saw his handsome mug on it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

You People NEVER Let Me Perform A Caesarian!


"Yes, Dhileepan?"

"Where do babies come from?"

"Why don't you see it for yourself?"

But is Papa Murugesan already changing his tune? (read the last 'graf in the linked story)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Elevator Stories

You have heard of Hitchcock's "elevator story", right?

The other day, I was exiting an elevator and two ladies were entering it. I heard one of them say to the other: "my husband was raised by a woman who". Just then, the door closed.

I wanted to run back into the elevator and listen to the rest of that story. What kind of a woman raised that man? How was he raised? Where is he now?

Messy, unclear endings like that are so much more interesting than fully resolved ones. I *loved* how "The Sopranos" ended. In a way, it was reminiscent of Truffaut's freeze-frame in "The 400 Blows". Leave 'em guessing.

But some people don't like that. They want an answer and preferably, one meaning only. So now it's quasi-official that the Fade-out seen around the Web means Tony was whacked.

How do we know they didn't just run out of video tape?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Margaret Dumont

Global projects, names without faces, conference calls that are either too early or too late for someone, you know how it goes. How do we really know it is not all just bots talking to one another? How do I know I am not a bot?

There's this woman at work who leads an important, company-wide conference call. There is no mistaking her confidence. If confidence were to somehow manifest as bright light, this woman's confidence would leave us all blinded. That is, assuming light rays could travel through the phone lines, flow through our ears and damage our optical apparatus from the inside. The conference call begins with a very crisply intoned greeting which is all business and that is quickly followed by her opening up the always-updated checklist. No jokes about needing a vacation to recover from the vacation, no weather updates. Just business. She keeps everyone honest and follows up on every "action item" on the checklist. The calls have never exceeded the allotted time. It is true that while I am still hazy about the exact purpose of the call, it is getting the work done.

Dylan wrote about such a woman in "Maggie's Farm" (ladies and feminists, please don't take my comparison too literally):

Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law.
Everybody says
She's the brains behind pa.

But that voice. Something about that voice. It reminded me of someone. Listening to her speak on the conference call the other day, I suddenly knew which Maggie she sounded like: Margaret Dumont!

Ms. Dumont was a star of the silver screen in the Nineteen-thirties and Forties. In her most well-known roles, she was at the receiving end of the world's funniest comedy team, the Marx Brothers. In fact, she was practically the "Fifth Marx Brother". She always played the stiff, stuffy, upper-crust woman in all her films, with names like "Mrs Dukesbury" and "Mrs Teasdale". Her "straight man" persona made Marx Brothers' jokes seem funnier. Take this demented exchange from "Duck Soup":

Mrs. Teasdale: Your Excellency, I thought you'd left!
Chicolini: Oh no, I no leave.
Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
Chicolini: Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

So what about it?

Nothing at all. A co-worker's voice reminds me of Margaret Dumont and I just wanted to tell you that. Here's to Maggie.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Bam chicka wah wah - BANG! (Link to CNN, via Drudge)

Clearly, the Iranian government knows a thing or two about porn. It spared the screenwriters from death penalty. (And if you don't know what "bam chicka wah wah" is, read comment #31 on this forum.)

You know who I would like to execute? People who come into meetings with their Blackberries and laptops switched on. When did it become acceptable to be on IM, browsing and checking emails in the middle of a meeting? Back in the good old days, meetings involved certain protocols, like making eye-contact with everyone in the room and asking serious questions. And playing tic-tac-toe without looking down.

It seems my blogroll has more than one webcomic artist-writer. When Scout's not writing spine-chilling posts like this one, she's busy re-discovering her drawing skills. More! More! And I didn't just spot a peacock.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Google Music Trends

If the one true aim of all rock bands is world domination, Linkin Park has just hit this one out of the park, straight into the bull's eye and scored a six. Shankar Mahadevan's close , but he'll have to fight it out with Nelly Furtado, Akon, Avril Lavigne and Green Day. (Well, James Blunt too, but I figured he wouldn't last more than two seconds against Shankar.)

The Google Music Trends page reveals a couple of things: Most Google Talk users are listening to new music. There seem to be a LOT of Google Talk users in India (or from India.)

(You can also view top songs by genres and by country. It seems the only kind of "world music" is Indian music. We are the desi world, yaar?)

Now, if fifty million of you are willing to cooperate with me, what say we play a sweet old K.L. Saigal song, tag it as "hip-hop/R&B" in iTunes and confuse the hell out of Google and other marketers?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

"Can I Meet The Edge Instead?"

Thank god for politicians like Canada's PM, Stephen Harper. He refused to meet Bono. And this is not the first time he's snubbed a rock star.
“I’m a big U2 fan,” Harper said. “Paul McCartney tried to call me once. Some of you may know I’m an even bigger Beatles fan.”

Harper was referring to McCartney’s futile attempt to discuss the Atlantic seal hunt with him last year.
Maybe world leaders should drop in at U2's recording sessions and start offering creative suggestions.

That might actually make me care for the next U2 album.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Must. Stop. Thinking.

If they created a town or a city exclusively for physically disabled people, who would get to park in first two parking spaces at the supermarket?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Updating Dylan For Frequent Fliers

"how your head feels under something like that/your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat" - Bob Dylan, "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" (lyrics)

"how your head feels under something like that/your brand new clear plastic zip top bag" - Flotsam, to a TSA agent at the airport, after being told to "eat it or lose it" (lyrics)

Monday, June 04, 2007

All Clear, Suddenly

Some people blog because they *must* express their views and opinions. I've rarely felt that compulsion. Some blog because it's "cool". Not my thing either. I came to it rather late. More than a few blog under the illusion that blogging is "writing practice". A hundred-word post a day will make them a proficient writer someday. Like running three feet a day will make me a champion marathon runner.

Then there are bloggers who like to share. Pictures from travel, cartoons (Mock Turtle: UPDATE WANTED!!!), fiction, technical expertise. I got nothing there either. I am neither a teenager nor am I lovesick, so no angst, no "I hate this world" and no sad poetry to move you. I am not raising money for plastic surgery ("help me with my growth - help me get an enhancement") and I don't always feel the need to talk about "causes".

And yet, I've had this space up for nearly 2 years. Why?

The answer came to me this weekend when I finally got to meet Tabula Rasa and the former blogger formerly known as Cosmic Elevator later known as Wildflower Seed now just known as WFS or as the Anonymous Commenter who knows everything there is to know about Grateful Dead. Anyone who has visited their blogs knows the two of them are funny, witty and super-smart - PhD's and what not. They also love music. One of them was visibly excited at picking up a jazz CD and said to the other "man, check out this lineup!". Only music geeks talk like that. (Of course, this same music geek also ordered a piece of bread as a side order with his sandwich, so you do the 'rithmetic.)

So the three of us walked around this big used-music store, browsed through all categories from instrumental jazz (Tony Williams) to electronica (Nitin Sawhney) - and I do mean *every* category. The music geek with the apparent bread fetish even picked up an Ali G DVD. Respek!

Anyway, the point in telling you all this is not to provide you with a field report of the meet-up, but to share my epiphany. Why do I blog, you will remember me asking and then saying this meet-up provided me with the answer.

It's about the conversations. I'm blogging for the conversations.

OK, I'm mostly blogging to kill time, but I am *really* blogging for the conversations. It's about ideas that are exchanged and communicated - not just in the post, but even in the commentspace. (I know, "ideas" sounds very sombre but it's not like that at all. My posts hardly generate or even require sombre discussions.) It's the pleasure of conversing with people who share your interests and passions and even buy you coffee.

I can think of no better excuse than that to blog.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Drummer Slams Band

Someone I know recently attended the very first Police reunion gig. (It was more of a dress rehearsal.) He didn't think very highly of it. Apparently, the sound was too mellow (too much tantric sex, perhaps?) and Andy was having "technical difficulties".

Now, band performances are known to improve as the tour progresses and good musicians are always self-critical, but what to make of this?

(Via Drudge)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Birdie Num Num

"I woke early one morning, The earth lay cool and still When suddenly a tiny bird Perched on my window sill, He sang a song so lovely So carefree and so gay, That slowly all my troubles Began to slip away. He sang of far off places Of laughter and of fun, It seemed his very trilling, brought up the morning sun. I stirred beneath the covers Crept slowly out of bed, And gently lowered the window And crushed its fucking head."
-- Unix fortune files? Brown Magic's roommate's wall? Authorship fiercely disputed.


I miss some old-school games. "Chidiya Ud" is NOT one of them. Still, this site here has instructions and if you have never played this game AND happen to have a split personality, you can just play against yourself.

Just don't crush your partner's fingers if you lose, ok?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tomorrow is Caturday

The emergence of a new joke is probably the internet's equivalent of a new series debuting on TV. Things -and I don't know what else to call them, for they are not jokes certainly - like singing hamsters and dancing babies are like "According to Jim" (or any other middle-of-the-road sitcom.)

Weird, inside-jokes like "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" remind me of some of those cartoon shows on "Adult Swim". They're not for everyone and if you get the joke, it's a pleasant 17 seconds spent in the office (and another 10 minutes forwarding links to friends.)

So now the LOLcats unleash their wide-eyed, furry fury on the 'net.
Lolcat images consist of a photo of a cat with a caption characteristically formatted in a sans serif font such as Impact or Arial Black. The image is, on occasion, photoshopped for effect. The caption generally acts as a speech balloon encompassing a comment from the cat, or is a simple description of the depicted scene.
(From the Wiki)

If you were a visitor a few years ago, you would have seen the source of this joke: the "please spare the kitty" photoshopped picture. (And you also know the context of that punchline ;))

So anyway, here's a site dedicated to LOLcats. Some images are very funny ("wuz dat noisez?") and some are just "meh".

And there's your 17 pleasant seconds.

Mantra Cycle Up* And What's New Is Old Again

Damn those obsessive fans who found secret meanings and clues in everything the Beatles wrote and recorded.

Except that this time they may be right:
"Memory Almost Full" can be rearranged to spell "for my soulmate LLM"-- the initials of the late Linda Louise McCartney
Pitchfork has an interview with Macca.

Want to run anagrams for "Abbey Road" and "Rubber Soul"? Use the Anagram Server. Interesting/funny/bizarre Beatles-related anagrams are most welcome in the commentspace.

*Paul McCartney

The Beastie Boys have a "post-punk instrumental" album out in June. Oh yeah!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"____________ ____________ ever"

Spiderman 3 must be the worst movie ever. It has the "changing-clothes-to-peppy music" montage. What more do I have to say?

Alphonso is the greatest fruit ever. But I also miss the Langda. I wonder, if they marketed the "Langda" here, and that name being politically incorrect and all, will they sell those puppies as "mango with minor physical disability"?

"Puppies" is the worst American slang ever. I recently ordered a panini at a Whole Foods store and the guy fixing my sandwich says "let me grill this puppy up". Images of a sweet, sad-eyed puppy being shoved into a hot grill flashed in my mind. "Fixing a sandwich" is also a strange phrase. Try translating it into Hindi. "Tumhara sandwich theek kar doon?"? (Or, "tumhare sandwich ki marammat kar doon?")

Rockabilly is the best music ever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Free Music Thursday

You're going to love this: some terrific African music on this blog. (link to "Awesome Tapes From Africa", via Metafilter)

There's funky guitar rock in there (African guitar rock sounds SO much fresher than anything happening in the West at the moment) as well as hip-hop, so that should make everyone happy.

There really is just too much 'pod goodness on that blog, so if you guys dig up something really cool, share it with everyone in the commentspace. (And if you can afford to buy any of these albums or MP3s, please do.)

I just recently noticed the new Free Napster - no registration and no sign-ins! Simply search for a band or a song and press play. (Looks like they have even eliminated the commercials?!)

As a demo, how about this weepie? Those of you without a girlfriend (or a boyfriend - or both?) are allowed to cry into your pillow.

Careful With That Wax, Jackie

I see that I have a "missed call" on my cellphone and I don't recognize the number. There's a voice-mail too.

The voice - part-Valley Girl, part-Garden State, all delightful- informs me, almost breathlessly, that I have an appointment with Jackie this morning. "Jackie will be happy to take care of the waxing during this appointment."

Sad, that Valley Girl called the wrong number and now both she and Jackie will get an earful from the client, whose body must be covered in a thick, clumpy overgrowth of hair by now.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Passion For Cribbing

I'm kind of late to this party and this has been DesiPundited an' all, but if you haven't read it yet, now is your chance to bemoan the lack of standards and integrity in the Modern World.

The back-story:

Film-crazy blogger-filmmaker goes to a film festival and runs into Quentin Tarantino. Lucky bastard (the blogger, not QT). Then he (again, the blogger, not QT) blogs the encounter/conversation on a blog called "Passion For Cinema". Meanwhile, somewhere in the hot, humid bowels of Mumbai Mirror, sits a "film critic" called Subhash K. know the rest of the story, don't you.

And now the links: DesiPundit, Passion For Cinema and no, I'm not going to link to that piece of crap newspaper here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Paeans And Aches"

"pray don’t jostle, please don’t push
for I am aging fast."

A blogger known to us has put his poetry up on a blog.

Brave man, because he has also included poems written by him when he was just a wee lad. And everyone knows what wee lads write about. ("To love and lose is noble/All the world loves a lover/Even more so a jilted lover/but what about us poor saps?")

Fear not. He also writes lines like: "....I’m dying to pee here/It would be nice/If you left the loo key here.")

Cow Inns A Dense*

You wore the same shirt!

My life is filled with coincidences. Like this little game I play with the radio. I ask the Wife to randomly pick an FM station and I predict the song it will be playing (if the station's on a commercial break, the next song counts.)

I always predict "Desperado" and the Wife always finds a Mexican music station.

*My first ever Dylan mondegreen: "take what you have gathered from coincidence" (It's All Over Now, Baby Blue)

I can bet at least two of you are either listening to that song right now or thinking of Googling its lyrics. Or there's a vagabond rapping at your door.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Why My World Is Filled With Joy And Laughter. Or At Least A Snarky Chuckle.

Seen in the CD rack at a public library: "The Essential Michael Bolton".

I'm more interested in knowing what songs didn't make it to the album.

If Only More Bad Guys Wore Black Hats...

"I stand before you today, deeply, deeply ashamed and terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people," US army spokesman Col John Nicholson told reporters in Washington by video conference from Afghanistan.
There is something very Helleresque/Kubrickesque (stopitesque!) about this apology. Especially the caption under one of the pictures: "US-led forces say they kill fewer civilians than the Taleban".

Monday, May 07, 2007

Plenty Of Moss

As if the Nineteen-sixties have not already been celebrated and analyzed to death in the media, here comes Rolling Stone's fortieth anniversary special. Well, some of the interviews are fun to read, despite leading, self-congratulatory questions like "What did Rolling Stone mean to you in 1967?" The most entertaining interviews are:

Jack Nicholson comparing Bob Dylan and Jiddu Krishnamurti - not their philosophy but their stage entrance. (He also reveals an interesting fact: that he appears in a Beatles' home video, circa 1968, totally stoned. Somehow, I can't imagine John Lennon and Jack Nicholson in the same room.)

Dylan making some funny Boblike comments about global warming and politics and showing some major love to John and Paul (calling the latter "the only person I am in awe of" and the former "one of the greatest singers ever".)

Bob Weir going all cosmic and shit (something about how he is happy just to sit and watch a bug and its bugness) and talks about something totally crazy: how he invited Ann Coulter backstage. Now there's a musician with an open mind.

Neil Young, talking about his politics and leaving Buffalo Springfield.

Ringo getting all blunt (he calls the Police reunion "boring") and anarchic in his interview (exhorting the bands of today to "oppose everything that we stood for".) He also declares "Revolver" to be his favorite album. (And why do all interviewers insist on asking the same goddamn stupid questions about "Sgt. Pepper"?)

Yes, and this issue has those scratch-and-sniff perfume ads too. This is a rock magazine.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Upgrade Or Die

Nice work, Intuit, killing Quicken 2004 with just a "as you have been notified...".

I now have piles of bills sitting on my desk and, for the first time in nearly 142 years, I have to write checks and lick those stamps.

On the off-chance that your Sunday afternoon does not involve writing checks and licking stamps, you should be watching Ahmet Ertegun's bio on PBS. This great man (who gave the world Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Aretha Franklin) was the one who suggested Phil Collins add "more drums" to "In the air tonight".

Come on, he gave us Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Aretha Franklin! That's not good enough for you?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's Superman! It's A Bird!! It's A WTF??!!

It's a Boeing 737 sitting in the middle of a road in Bombay.

Do not panic.

Thanks to the Cartoonist Formerly Known as Mock Turtle for this most entertaining link.

I just hope they don’t get away with serving hot towels and mini-pretzels as compensation to the affected residents.

Look, mama, the Pakistani government put out an ad to find missing radioactive material!

Hey, Sri Lanka and Nepal, let's see you guys get your own funny-scary news stories on the BBC next week.

Sadashivam's Blues

I am in deep despair.

The Kinks could easily have written an funny, wistful minor-key song based on this lovely poem by Neha.

Not to belittle anyone's opinion, and that's exactly what I am going to do now, but I read a very funny comment on her blog: "I don't see the crux of this poem here".

The "crux" of the poem? How about a 10-point executive summary of the Key Feelings Evoked By The Poet and a 45-slide Powerpoint presentation on Impacts of The Poem On the Enterprise?

OK, but I would still like to know the crux of Bunuel's "The Discrete Charms of the Bourgeoisie". Actually, not. The crux of that film was "always plan your meals carefully".

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Bees

Most unusual: Bees are disappearing.

Why is this important?
Of the 17,000 species of bees that scientists know about, “honeybees are, for many reasons, the pollinator of choice for most North American crops,” a National Academy of Sciences study said last year. They pollinate many types of plants, repeatedly visit the same plant, and recruit other honeybees to visit, too.
Many theories have been proposed to explain the "colony collapse disorder" phenomenon (previously known as the Fall Dwindle Disease), but the one involving cellphones obviously got the most attention.

If only bogus theories disappeared first.

And here's the Dead, circa 1970, covering Muddy Waters' classic "I'm a King Bee" (Track 4, streaming audio, link to

Monday, April 30, 2007


Chandrashekhar thought it was because scientists develop an arrogance towards nature. These are often pioneers in their fields, they make far-reaching contributions. Their success makes them believe that they have a special view of science, a somehow right view of science.
A terrific post on the great physicist (also a great leg spinner and whose mother translated Ibsen's "A Doll House" into Tamil.)


Useful rule #1: Don't believe in authority (aka "watch your parking meters")

Useful rule #2: Don't believe everything you read.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday On My Mind

Two monks are sitting in a garden. Days go by but not a word is spoken. Then one day, one of the monks points to a tree and breaks down laughing.

"They call that a tree".

The other monk starts laughing too.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tennessee Jed

"You say shy, I say chickenshit". I say "thanks, BM", for that memorable line.

Some things are best left to the young 'uns. This tag is one of them. But that doesn't mean I can't answer *some* of the questions.

1. Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it.

One dark and stormy night, the epithelial and adipose layers on the mandible experienced major asphalt-induced trauma. Long night at the ER ensued. Further details cannot and will not be provided. Scar tissue is a man's second-best friend.

2. What does your phone look like?

A Remington typewriter.

3. What music do you listen to?

Tonal and atonal.

4. What is your current desktop picture?

Generic tropical island shot. I *hate* it. But if I changed it, it would mean I actually cared about desktop pictures.

5. What do you want more than anything right now?

Answering this could get me into SO much trouble.

6. What are you listening to?

Grateful Dead's "Europe '72", Kishori Amonkar's "Malhar" and Gomez's "In our Guns". Everyone should own the first two albums. Some of you should own the last one. None of you should own anything by the Corrs.

7. Do you like pain killers?

Only when "Europe '72" is playing really softly.

8. Are you too shy to ask someone out?

Not really, but I make it a point to get my wife's permission first.

9. Do you get scared of the dark?

Only if the dork has fangs and casts no image in the mirror.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finally, A Real Reason To Say "You Go, Girl"

"I did not have a pen or a note book, so I stole Rs 5 from my home and bought a pen for Rs 2 and copy for Rs 2."
Check out this slideshow on Rediff and if you have the time, please read each girl's story.

There's something so very rock 'n roll about these kids. Like the little girl who stole money to buy a pen. A PEN! What about the girl who learned to swim in the village pond, didn't give a fuck what the villagers thought of her swimsuit and now wins medals in swim meets?


(Thanks, Uma, for blogging this.)

Be The Change You Want To See

So I turned into seven dollars and seventeen cents and was carried away by a gruff waiter with spiky hair in a Vietnamese restaurant.

Thanks a lot, MKG.

Feisty Fawn

The new version of Ubuntu is out: "Feisty Fawn". I want to install it just for that gloriously silly name. Who wants to be stuck forever in "1.0/2.0/SP7" hell? Besides, Feisty Fawn's got excellent reviews. Here's one.

For those of you who have not heard of Ubuntu before, the word comes from a Bantu language and one of its translations over at Wikipedia is
"I am what I am because of what we all are"
That's a goddamn sweet philosophy and sweeter still is the fact that it costs several hundred dollars less than the operating system I am using currently.

(Link via Slashdot)

UPDATE: Leaping Lizards! Just how are Ubuntu releases named?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fifth Most Overcast Day Since April 2002

It's the worst storm since 1992.

It's the deadliest shooting rampage since 1966.

Do these rankings matter? And who asked these idiots to keep the score?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

There's Gold In Them Thar Classifieds

I'm always told "things are changing in India!" and then, as proof, I am driven over to some generic mall or a coffeeshop. My measurement of change comes from one question: "has the internet wreaked havoc here yet?" (It has. Teenagers no longer have to pay for music and porn.)

But what about people living in small towns and villages? What does the internet mean to them? Before I came across this classifieds site, I would have said "probably nothing". I would be so wrong.

Now, I am not a "ha ha, dehati bozos are funny" kinda guy. Maybe it's because I've lived in dehat for many, many years and still think of myself as a dehati. (Cue in Don McLean's "Castles in the air") But what can I say, there are some real howlers in those classified ads and I can use a howl right now. So let me point out some of the "24 carrot" posts.

1. But dude, how would you make out with her?

2. God may have given names to all the animals, but the punks in Sultanpur weren't paying attention. This section is JUST FREAKING AWESOME. I love it. There's a dude who wants a "dog bread" called "Dabarman". Then there's the man with "one ox, six teeth".

3. Also check out Sultanpur's budding pop lyricist, who starts his poetic "Requirement of Cow" with "I WANNA COW".

After you've done chuckling or even ROFLing, pay attention to what rocks the boat in Sultanpur. Inverters, cars, TVs, cellphones. Things are indeed changing.

So who wants to buy a "cement colour" ox?


If you were the English-to-Hindi translator working at a film studio, how would you translate the title "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"?

I don't think "terah-se-unnees saal ke kung-fu janane wale jadui kachue" would look very good on a poster.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Situation Normal All Not Fouled Up

What is the essence of business communication? Reporting exceptions. The fire-alarm goes off in case of a fire. The alarm does not ring when there is not a fire. Our systems - and I don't mean just software or hardware systems - are mostly designed for exceptions, not normalcy. Thank goodness, or we would be buried under the sheer volume of "normal" data and events.

The first time I ever saw weather forecast on TV (in India), it just seemed wrong. What really was the point of reporting (and hearing) "mausam khushkh rahega" every day for five months? Weather forecasting is a necessity in America, with its micro-climates, rapidly changing weather patterns and the sheer number of people on the road and in the skies. Should I pack a sweater or not is what I want to know.

The reason I am writing about this is because of an email I recently received from this guy working on my team. The subject line read "availability for next week" and email said something about "being onsite" and "week of April 23". So I interpreted it to mean he was out of office for that particular week, not paying any attention to the phrase "being onsite". But I also knew he had agreed to be in the office for the next couple of weeks, so I had to re-read a two-line email about four times to make sure I really understood it.

Not surprisingly, or surprisingly - I am not sure which - nearly everyone who received that email misread it. Circuits tripped. One of them even shot an email back - "I wasn't aware you were taking time off!".

So if there is an expectation - default state? Or exception state? - for all our conversations and interactions, are we just focused on this expectation and not to what is actually being said?

Let's take another example. What is the context of a couple's conversation? Are they expected to say "I feel immense love for you in this very moment and promise to never leave your side" and repeat it every time they talk (default) or say "I don't really feel any love for you right now at this moment" (exception)?

The default is sweet but lacks surprise. The words and the context are stripped of their power by repetition. It's the "have a nice day" syndrome. Why don't people say "please avoid having a terrible day"? It could be more effective, you know.

The exception report, in the couple's case, is nasty, though it could also keep the couple guessing - i.e., "how would he or she feel towards me in the next moment?"

I say let's trip everyone's circuits by flipping the context.

"Officer, I do not plead guilty to a crime I did not commit". "Dear boss, my distant cousin is not getting married so I am not going to miss work on the day of the World Cup Finals". "Dear boss, my grandmother is hale and hearty and because there is no funeral to attend, I will be at work everyday for the next 6 months".

And of course, "Honey, I got the milk".

Friday, April 13, 2007

You Didn't Tell Us! We Did Too!

I know this must have scared that little bag of pretzels out of the crew and passengers, and for someone who flies as much as I do, I shouldn’t be joking about these things, but this catastrophic “near-miss” is funny.

Reminds me of the time I “launched” a few rockets one Diwali night, directly into some very dry bushes and forgot to inform my neighbor about the “test”. (This was awfully funny considering that those dry bushes were on the neighbor’s property and one of them erupted into a blaze.)

So, yeah, India’s rocket scientists are all “It’s Diwali night, man!” and the Indonesian airline is all “behenchod, sara ghar jala dega”.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sex And Salvation

Drunken blogging. Pure genius. I remember saying the exact same thing about "stoned band practice".

So my boss tells me over a large Sapporo, "dude, you're all business all the time" and I feel insulted. How could I - *I* - be *all business* and this guy with a permanent bluetooth earpiece be not all business? Why is he calling me "dude"? And am I really all business all the time? And why is that bottle of Sapporo looking so big? And why am I all business all the time? And why is the Asian girl taking so long to get my next Sapporo? What if we could replace this slow human interface with a touch-screen interface with one large icon in the middle of the screen? A big, brown, happy bottle of Sapporo, naturally.

Compensation drives behavior. I vaguely remember someone telling me this several beers ago. I can't quite recall how or why we got to that topic.

Not only is CNN more moronic than we think, it is more moronic than we can think. JBS Haldane said that. The idiots are running a special feature called "What is a Christian" and for some reason, they are interviewing people attending a porn de-addiction camp run by a church. The documentary is subtitled "Sex and Salvation". A very large Sapporo, please.

To the Irish lady who asked me about India's caste system: There is no caste in India - I repeat, NO CASTE - with a Yellow Labrador as its mascot. I'm sorry but large Sapporo make Indian man shit bulls.

BTW, my buddy Scout has drafted me into her little army of drunks. (Regiment icon: a pickled liver) As cameos go, that's a pretty good cameo. The pay is terrible, but like any flasher will tell you, it's all about the exposure...

And finally, a beautiful quote:

" "

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Messiah, Yes, But Very Fatty

The Religion Police always looks out for us. (Link to the Guardian)

You're going to love this quote:
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, said the work was a direct assault on Christians. "All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don't react the way extremist Muslims do when they're offended."
At least not yet, Bill.

Friday, March 30, 2007

It Was A Hands-Off Workshop, I Assure You

The meeting's going very well.

I am feeling unusually confident and articulate.

I know exactly where these bozos are going wrong.

I use fearsome phrases like "But Bob, this is a process in evolution" and "for the sake of team focus, let's not get drawn into a discussion on semantics and meta-processes".

I am bursting with ideas, solutions, alternatives and inputs.

I know I can build consensus and help steer the group in the right direction.

I look down and find that I have attended a meeting with my fly wide open.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There's A Kind Of Lumberghness All Over My World

"If you guys could come in early on Saturday and Sunday, that'd be great"

"If you could send me the utilization reports by 5PM, that'd be great"

It's official. I became this guy.


Can you even imagine the shame I felt when I realized I had ended not one but two sentences in the same day with "that'd be great". (And to cover up, I threw in a "Red Swingline stapler" joke before the minions started cracking up around me. I don't think it helped.)

I coulda been somebody, you know? Like The Dude. Or Sam Spade. Of all the memorable film characters available to me, I had to choose Bill Lumbergh.

So who wants to show up at work in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Saving The Strays In Bangalore

I hope Bangalore's city government (BBMP) considers some sensible alternatives to dealing with the city's stray dog situation. Killing them is just wrong.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Which Side Is A Leopard Clouded?

why, on the outside, of course.

There's something terribly exciting in reading reports of new animal species still being discovered in "our" time. And when the species in question is the beautiful "clouded leopard", even more so. (The "Neofelis Nebulosa" - such an AWESOME name.)

But one little fact about these kitties is a bit, shall we say, worrisome:
" In captivity, clouded leopards present a reproductive challenge. Unfortunately, there is a high incidence of aggression between males and females, sometimes resulting in the death of the female."
I mean, sure, every male occasionally has his "not tonight dear, I have to rip this gazelle from limb to limb" moment or maybe he just wants to watch Letterman or read a book, but killing the female to avoid sex is simply too much.

So there you have it- breaking news, zoology, humor, marital psychology, all in one convenient place.

BTW, this news item in The Hindu says one of the Indian zoos has a Clouded Leopard. Here's a picture of the animal in Shillong Zoo.

Indeed, apna desh is home to this species too. Check out this excellent scientific document, authored by a scientist from Calcutta, on the discovery of the species. (Link to a PDF Document.)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dude, Where's My Ambassador?

Drunk, bound, gagged and naked in El Salvador - that's where.

I am using the "Dude, Where's My ________" headline in 2007. Dude, where's my originality? STOP IT!

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Real Digital Divide

is between people who use the "cc" in emails correctly and those who do not.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Of Mothers And Fathers

"Then listen to me", he said and cleared his throat. "It's true that a child belongs to his father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother's hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland."
from Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart". Good stuff, that book.

Where Does The Time Go?

It goes in....

watching this woman at a meeting trying to eat an apple as noiselessly as possible. Very thoughtful of her, I must say, and she did achieve noiselessness for the most part. Except that this noble goal of hers forced her to eat in a manner that looked like she was, slowly and passionately, and that's just as it should be, french-kissing the fruit. Very distracting.

watching this restless desi programmer-type dude sitting next to me on a four-and-a-half flight, flapping one end of his seat-belt for fifteen minutes. When this fascinating activity no longer challenged his creativity, he finished his diet Coke, clenched the rim of the plastic cup with his teeth and began shaking his head up and down for a full five minutes. I kept an eye on him throughout the flight because I was curious to see what he would do with a folded boarding pass, the in-flight magazine and a mini-pretzel.

trying to imagine why someone felt the need to invent the phrase "making sure we are all on the same page". Forget being on the same page (Mark Foley would be very unhappy), most of us aren't even on the same book or even reading a book of the same genre.

And that's where it goes.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Red Right Hand

If there isn't already a law against the maximum approach velocity of one's hand into a handshake, there ought to be one. And guys, if you find your arm-shoulder swinging by more than a couple of degrees to the right just before a handshake, you are probably overdoing it.

BTW, anyone remember the name of the comicbook detective with the bone-crushing handshake? Rip Kirby, was it? It was definitely one of those 1940s-style noirish strips.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jimmy Miller: The Other George Martin

The "Let It Bleed" CD cover had been sitting on my stereo for like 6 months and the other day, I picked it up just to read its production credits. I had always assumed L.I.B. was produced by Mick and/or Keith. Turns out it was produced by a man named Jimmy Miller. A Goog/Wiki search revealed this man produced the "fab Four": Beggars' Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street (and Goat's Head Soup.)

Super-producer, you say? Well, hold on just a second. This man also produced Blind Faith, Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and just in case those names don't mean much to you, he produced Motorhead. How's that for sheer diversity in musical styles?

Rhino Records' website has a good column on Miller's contribution to the Stones' sound. I also found this GREAT page which has a lot of quotes from and about Jimmy Miller and the making of Beggars' Banquet.

Anyone got any more dope on this man? If you do, please update the Wiki. Jimmy Miller deserves a more substantial Wiki entry.

Rock 101 quiz: How are the Rolling Stones connected to that classic John Bonham drum sound on "When The Levee Breaks"?

Iconic Pictures (And The True Stories Behind Them)

"My Adobe files are constantly hanging, most of my software can't be installed and I am just too scared to run iTunes on it!" - Johnny Cash, about his Vista experience.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Recording The Beatles: Drool, Drool

What do you get a Beatles-obsessed audiogeek for Christmas? This book, of course. (Link via BoingBoing)

Here's a sample page (WARNING: opens a PDF file) about the recording of "Mother Nature's Son" (not my most favorite tune from the White, but still...and Paul was reading "The Song of Hiawatha" in 1968?)

What Dream?

My cab driver is a forty-something guy - white, bespectacled and balding. I am jet-lagged like hell and try to beat it with conversation and I ask him if he usually finds passengers this early in the morning. He takes that as a cue and tells me about his daily schedule. He works 2 shifts - 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Then, in a soft, worried tone, he clarifies "but it's so hard to make ends meet". I am curious about his health insurance. "That's the other thing. I am 40 and I don't have health insurance. I worry about that a lot. What if something were to happen to me?"

You could be working 84 98 hours a week and still not be able to afford health insurance.

Only in America, folks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lost In Cubicleland

Apologies for not doing the follow-up post on that haiku dare. A new consulting gig, extreme travel conditions and stuff...but c'est la vie, said the old folks, right?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Haiku And A Dare

Harsh Scrabble discord -
someone has placed putzhead on
a triple word score..
This haiku page is a riot. So naturally, I want to know, why don't we have a "Haiku for Hindus"? We got plenty to poke fun at, don't we?

I know there are some very gifted blogger-poets on my blogroll. If any of you have some verses, post them in the comments or put them up on your blog and send me the link. (Give yourself bonus points for NOT writing about "sacred cows". And triple-bonus points for sneaking in multilingual puns. Tabula Rasa, I hope you will try :) Gazillion-bonus points if one of those languages is Sanskrit.)

Update1: OMFG. Falstaff gets the job done. He comes up with not one or two or three but SEVEN of 'em. Sir, you have not upped the bar. You've blown the damn thing out of sight.

(I will compile the verses in a separate post later, but for now, you can read Falstaff's contribution in the commentspace.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Out Raving

The Bigger! Better! India Uncut looks *very* impressive and I am not saying that only because I am on the "Raveout" team.

Amit and MadMan: As Saddam must have often said to Chemical Ali, kudos on the execution.

A commenter (Neela) on a fellow Raver's (Raveouter's?) blog put it really well: "I have a feeling that I am going to get an overdose of Sartre, Kafka, some unknown Israeli author and a few suicidal Eastern European filmmakers in there."

Fear not, Neela. The blog sure has a great bunch of contributors - "Alpha-bloggers" - the ones who know their stuff and can write very well - but they also have ME :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Not Heart Shaped

February 14. A very happy Bhagwat Ekadashi* to you too.

Don't laugh, you brainwashed, western propaganda-buying imperialist sheep! Today is Lord Vishnu's day of rest. Is there anything more important than that?

/*I have no idea what that festival is all about.

//Just saw a young man leaving a store with not one but three bouquets of flowers and he had that worried "OMFG-I-still-have-to-buy-the-chocolates" look on his face. What's with the pressure?

Mama Likes Movies

Called mother up on the weekend. She sounded weak. The poor thing, she's down with a nasty flu and food poisoning. As you can guess, the needle on my Guiltometer hit the extreme end of the dial.

"So what did you do", I asked her, meaning if she had seen a doctor.

"I visited the doctor and he has prescribed me medicines."

I felt relieved and the needle sort of slid back a notch.

"And then", she continued, "I saw an Ingmar Bergman film - The Silence."

Food poisoning and flu? Bah! Minor obstacles to enjoying things that *really* matter, like a Bergman film.

The needle quickly dropped to zero.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammy '07

"We are the Police and we're BAAACK" is not the most creative way to announce your comeback. A better way to do it might have been to not play "Roxanne" and surprise the hell out of everyone. But Sting sounded strong, Copeland seemed to have lost none of his drumming chops (though he now resembles Jerry Springer) and Andy's battered Telecaster still produced that sound. (Jamie Foxx's profound observation after Police's performance: "this goes to show the power of collaboration is HAWT".)

Gnarls Barkley's rendition of "Crazy" was *insanely* brilliant. Has any band in the history of pop ever performed in an airline pilot uniform?

Rick Rubin is God but the Dixie Chicks put me to sleep. As did the unconvincingly fake "country" tribute to The Eagles and Bob Wills. Playing a tired, note-for-note cover of "Hotel California" and - YAWN- "Desperado" is not a tribute. It's karaoke. Did the Grammy organizers (and Carrie Underwood) know that Bob Wills wrote "Sittin' on top of the world"? Not just any song, but "Sittin' On Top of the world", ok? You want to pay a tribute to that great man, why not get someone who can really sing? Like Christina Aguilera. She did JB proud.

Mary J.'s inspirational epic-song-duet with Ludacris and little girls marching out with candles in their hands magically transported me to Hallmarkland.

Uh, "Hello". Hello?

As expected, Chili Peppers played a solid gig. Just like AC/DC, they have a sound and a formula and they are faithful to it. Besides, they showed their love for Ornette Coleman and that's what good bands do. Expose their fans to new ideas.

The Grammy Dude's speech was only slightly less interesting than John Mayer's performance. But thanks to such moments, I was able to catch most of The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy.

Where is the Soy Bomb guy when you need him?